From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Lucy, a lamb, draws so well that all of her classmates want her to make pictures for them—all except Tommy, a bull, who torments her by "accidentally" knocking over her paints, breaking her model blackbird, and threatening her if she tells on him. Lucy keeps her mouth shut, but her mother notices the ripped storybooks, broken pencils, and her child's increasingly sad expression. Finally, Lucy tells what happened and is horrified when her mother calls the teacher. But the next day, it's Tommy who is sad and chastened, and Lucy actually feels a bit sorry for him. When she sees him drawing "a very good porcupine," the jealousy behind his bullying comes out, and she asks him to draw one for her, setting the stage for his apology and a new friendship. This simple story puts bullying in kids' terms, showing a positive world in which the adults are in control; one wishes that all situations were handled so well. The animal characters are conveyed through bright colors and thick strokes, and their expressive faces garner empathy for bully and victim alike. Overall, an appealing story on a timely topic.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* There are lots of books about bullies, but this one is especially thoughtful (and a pleasure to look at). It frames the problem around the relationship between a sweet lamb and a belligerent little bull. Lucy loves school, but she’d love it more if Tommy wasn’t in her class. When everyone oohs and aahs over Lucy’s drawing ability, Tommy spills paint on her pictures. Teacher, Mrs. Goosie, is oblivious, even as Tommy becomes more brutal toward Lucy’s artwork and stomps on her clay crow (which is really a blackbird). But instead of telling her mother, Lucy stuffs the bird in her backpack and says nothing. Every day things grow a little worse, until Lucy must confide in her mother . . . who calls the teacher . . . who calls Tommy’s mom. The next day a chagrined Tommy looks sad and alone; Lucy takes it upon herself to notice the excellent porcupine he’s drawing. It’s a hedgehog, but Tommy appreciates the attention. Some may object to parents actually solving the problem, but that’s the way it often works in real life. It’s Lucy’s willingness to go the extra mile that might inspire readers to do the same. Alexander’s child-friendly watercolors beautifully convey a range of emotions. An excellent note to parents and teachers discusses bullying and ways to combat it. A great discussion-starter for the playground set. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper